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ESPN Considering Adding Michael Irvin To First Take

“Stephen A. Smith and Michael Irvin have a history of debating and entertaining an audience.”

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The “Stephen A vs. the world” approach to First Take is one step closer to reality with the news that Max Kellerman is headed to ESPN Radio. While it sounds like ESPN is still committed to no permanent co-host, Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that the network has discussed making Michael Irvin a part of the show.

It would obviously represent a return to Bristol for Irvin, who began his media career at ESPN and has been at the NFL Network since 2009. While no deal is finalized yet, McCarthy reports that the network would use the Hall of Fame wide receiver exclusively on First Take. ESPN is reportedly considering using Irving on the show on Mondays during the football season.

Could that leave the door open to Irvin working for both ESPN and the NFL Network? First Take is something that the NFL Network cannot offer him and by not appearing on Sunday NFL Countdown, Irvin would still be free to be a part of NFL Network’s game day programming. That being said, it should be noted that Irvin is in the final year of his current deal with the NFL Network.

Stephen A. Smith and Michael Irvin have a history of debating and entertaining an audience. Irvin routinely shows up when First Take travels to Dallas. The two have been in their share of shouting matches, including one in 2008 that Smith calls his most memorable moment on television. It has prompted Molly Qerim Rose to describe Irvin as Smith’s “biggest rival”. ESPN has even highlighted those arguments in the past.

Mike Fisher of Sports Illustrated asked Michael Irvin about the rumors on Tuesday night. It prompted a very funny exchange, which Fisher documented for the website.

“Fish,” he told me on Tuesday afternoon, “how many times in the last 32 years have I given you a ‘no comment”?

“Never,” I told him.

“Well,” Irving chortled, “you’re about to experience a first.”

Mike Fisher, “Michael Irvin + Stephen A. Smith: Can ESPN Make it Happen?”

McCarthy writes that ESPN is considering other in-house options to go head-to-head with Smith for the rest of the week. He cites sources saying that Marcus Spears, Keyshawn Johnson and Jay Williams have all been mentioned as potential parts of a rotation for First Take’s second chair.

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Mike Tirico, Tom Brady, Manningcast Win Sports Emmys

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The annual Sports Emmys were handed out on Tuesday night, and some usual names and new names ended up taking home hardware.

Among the usual names were NBC’s Mike Tirico, who won for Outstanding Personality/Studio Host, and soon-to-be Sunday Night Football broadcast colleague Cris Collinsworth, who was named Outstanding Personality/Sports Event Analyst.

But among the new names as Sports Emmy winners include Tom Brady and both Eli and Peyton Manning.

Brady’s Man in the Arena saga won Outstanding Documentary Series, while the Mannings were rewarded for their work on the Monday Night Football Manningcast, which won Outstanding Live Series.

Here’s a rundown of some of the key Sports Emmy winners:

Here is a full list of winners and nominees for the 2022 ceremony.

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Sports TV News

Joe Buck Says He Won’t Miss World Series

“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game.”

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USA Today

Among the bigger chain reactions set off by Joe Buck leaving FOX for ESPN was the sudden vacancy in FOX’s main MLB broadcast booth.

The 2022 World Series will mark the first time since 1995 that Buck will not be on the microphone.

Speaking to Chris Long on his podcast Green Light, Buck hopes to be in a more exotic location watching World Series games this fall.

“I would like to be in Cabo San Lucas with a margarita in my hand and a half-smoked cigar watching Game 7 of the World Series,” Buck said. “Cheering on Joe Davis and John Smoltz, and Ken Rosenthal, and Tom Verducci, and Pete Macheska and Matt Gangl and right on down the line.”

Buck added he’ll take pleasure in turning the broadcast off if it’s Game 7 and there’s an insurmountable lead. But the broadcasting legend said even on a bigger scale, not calling any baseball games at all this season, let alone the World Series, is a bit surreal after covering the sport for so long.

“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game,” he said. “And that’s really weird to me, but I walk away really proud of what I and we did.”

He added that he will not miss the opportunity, because he does not feel like he will “leave any unfinished business” in FOX’s MLB booth.

Buck further praised his FOX colleagues and said it was time for a change. He knows Joe Davis will thrive in the opportunity.

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NFL Likely To Launch NFL+ Streaming Service This Summer

“A source tells Fischer that a $5 per month price has been discussed for NFL+.”

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According to the Sports Business Journal, consumers could be downloading NFL+ by July. Now, just what NFL+ will be is still yet to be finalized.

Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal reported in the site’s newsletter that live games will certainly be at the center of the league-owned streaming service. It is likely to only be available on phones and tablets with no option to stream to a larger monitor.

The viewing options would be limited. No out of market games would be available on the app. It is meant to replace the deals that recently expired with Yahoo and mobile phone carriers that recently expired.

The app could also include other content. Radio calls, team-created digital content, and league-owned podcasts are all options. 

NFL+ would make NFL Media more valuable. The league is trying to sell an equity stake in its linear TV and digital media properties. Amazon and Apple are considered the most likely to make a deal. 

A source tells Fischer that a $5 per month price has been discussed for NFL+. The pricing structure can and likely will change before the app hits the market.

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